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7 September 2008
Archaeologists shed light on ancient Canaanite burial rituals

The British Museum's excavation team in Sidon (Lebanon) declared the end of its mission for 2008 at the 'Freres' excavation site near the southern port city's fortress. "Sidon is a remarkable archaeological city where we have found that economics and religion are closely related," archaeology expert and field supervisor Claude Doumet Serhal said. "And for the first time, we have discovered ways of burying the dead during the Canaanite period i.e. 3,000 years BCE and the accompanying ceremonial religious rituals."
     According to Serhal, excavation works have lasted more than two months this year. "We have expanded our work for a better understanding of the historic era that goes back to 3,000 years BCE," she added. "Our discoveries included eight rooms and 25 warehouses containing pottery and burnt wheat," she said. "But what surprised us," she added, "was the discovery of melted bronze material which indicated that the old Bronze Age existed before the Canaanite period."
     Serhal also said her team had unearthed 92 graves where children and teenagers were found buried in jars, in addition to warriors along with their spears, knives and arrows that dated to 2,000 years BCE. "We have also discovered the old oven known as 'Tannour' and a pestle to grind cereals," she added. "Some of the ovens discovered contained bones of goats, birds and fish representing the gifts that had been offered for the dead at the time. "The Freres site also included a four-meter-wide building of which we have discovered the ruins of five rooms so far, which were also related to the religious rituals of that period. Some 300 broken earthen plates and 600 lamps of the Canaanite period were also unearthed," she said.
     
Source: The Daily Star Lebanon (4 September 2008)

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